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Aya’s Kitchen: Caramelized Onion, Mushroom & Goat Cheese Tart

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This year was only the third time I celebrated Thanksgiving. Even though I have lived in the US for over 11 years now, I always chose to travel out of the country during the Thanksgiving holidays. Now I’ve come to appreciate Thanksgiving dinners, and while I don’t have family in this country, I’m always thankful to be able to celebrate it with my friends. This year we were invited to our friend’s place in CT, and we were assigned to bring appetizers. I browsed online for ideas and after seeing a few goat cheese and mushroom tarts recipes, I decided to make a puff pastry tart with mushrooms, goat cheese and caramelized onions.

I had never used store-bought puff pastry because I prefer to try and make everything myself. But I didn’t have much time to prepare this since I was working the day before Thanksgiving and we had to leave for our friend’s place in the morning, so I chose to buy the popular frozen puff pastry, Dufour, which uses real butter.

The night before, I prepped the caramelized onions and mushrooms.

Ingredients (enough for 16 decent pieces. This fed 8 hungry adults as appetizers before a large Thanksgiving feast)

For the onions:

6 medium sized onions, sliced 1-2mm thin
4-5 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp unsalted butter
Salt (to taste)
Freshly cracked black pepper
1 tbsp balsamico
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp sweet potato vinegar or other vinegar (optional)

For the mushrooms:

1-2 lb mushrooms (depends on how much mushrooms you want on there and you can choose your own variety. I used the white mushrooms from Bulich Mushroom Farm), sliced
Olive oil
4-5 sprigs of thyme
Salt
Freshly cracked black pepper

For assembling the tart:

2 boxes of Dufour puff pastry (14 oz each)
12 oz creme fraiche or thick yogurt (I used Maple Hill Creamery’s plain yogurt)
8 oz goat cheese (you can use more if you like! I used Leonara fresh goat cheese from Spain)

  1. Place the sliced onions and olive oil in a large saute pan over low heat. (Make sure not to use a deep or small pan or else it will take a very long time for you to caramelize your onions. A deep pan will trap the moisture).
  2. This part will take a lot of time and patience. It took me over an hour to caramelize these onions. Just keep them on low and heat keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn or caramelize unevenly (I set a timer every 15 minutes to check on them). It’s very important to slice your onions the same thickness to prevent uneven browning.
  3. Once the onions have caramelized and have a nice brown color, season them with salt and pepper, and finish off the sauteing with the butter.
  4. Cool them down and add the vinegars. If you like acid, then you can add more vinegar than I’ve specified!
  5. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat with some olive oil and once it’s very hot, add the sliced mushrooms. If the pan is not hot enough it will be hard to get a nice color on the mushrooms because they will release a lot of moisture.
  6. When the mushrooms have browned nicely, season them with salt and pepper and add the thyme leaves.
  7. Store the mushrooms and onions in separate containers until you are ready to bake the tart.

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It takes a few hours to thaw the puff pastry sheets so keep that in mind.

  1. Once it has thawed, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lay out the sheets and score along the border about 1/2-1 inch inside, and poke the inner part with a fork so the inner part doesn’t puff up (the border will be the only part that needs to puff up).
  2. Pre-bake these puff pastry sheets for about 15-20 minutes until almost cooked through.
  3. Remove them from the oven and allow to cool down.
  4. Mix the yogurt with a quarter of the mushrooms and onions. Spread on the puff pastry.
  5. Randomly place pinches of the mushrooms and onions all over the sheet (evenly). Then randomly place small chunks of the goat cheese all over as well (see photo above). Crack some black pepper over the tart if you wish.
  6. Bake in the oven until the edges have browned to your liking (10-15 minutes). Some of my onions burned a bit so be careful this doesn’t happen to yours!

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